Rheumatoid Arthritis
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of arthritis which is triggered by the immune system. There are 2.1 million adults in the United States with rheumatoid arthritis. In todayís 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about this condition.

Rheumatoid arthritis is generally more disabling than the more common condition known as osteoarthritis.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the membranes lining the joints become inflamed. This is because your own immune system recognizes this joint lining as foreign and inappropriately attacks it. This inflammation causes swelling and pain and, over time, may destroy the joint tissues and lead to significant disability.

Rheumatoid arthritis most often strikes people between ages 25 and 45, and it is more common in women. Usually, rheumatoid arthritis is symmetrical, meaning that it affects the same joints on both sides of the body. Most often affected are the hands, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, feet and neck.

Treatment most often includes medication, exercise and lifestyle changes. While treatment may help relieve symptoms and control the disease, there is no cure. The goal of treatment is to help you maintain your lifestyle, reduce joint pain, slow joint damage and prevent permanent disability.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.